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Mid-Southerners age 50 and better

What you need to know before selecting Medicare Advantage plan

Oct 29, 2012, 9:48 a.m.

By Lisa Wright - Medicare support manager, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

It’s October and your kitchen table is piling up with mail from insurance companies. Medicare’s fall open enrollment begins on Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7. So how do you choose coverage? What should you look for? It can be overwhelming.

A popular choice for coverage is a Medicare Advantage plan. Also known as an “all-in-one” plan, it combines your traditional Medicare Part A and B benefits with your Part D benefits and even adds some additional benefits all under one ID card.

One of the first considerations is cost. You should consider premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. You should also review the out of pocket maximum as this item secures your financial risk. It represents the most you would pay out of your pocket for covered services.

Of course, access to your physician is another key item. Before signing up for a plan, you would want to research flexibility, access to more doctors and specialists and the freedom to see who you want, when you want.

The All-in-One plans include prescription drug coverage but not everything is covered. Review the drug list to ensure that the prescriptions that you take are not only covered by the plan but also offered with a low copayment when you purchase them.

Most of all you want a plan that provides you with peace of mind. When you face a serious illness, you want a plan that provides you not only with financial security but also with a level of service that makes finding answers to your questions and concerns simple. Medicare Advantage plans can offer the support of a case management team to help guide you through the maze of healthcare, allowing you to focus on getting better.

Medicare Advantage plans cover the same medically necessary services as original Medicare. So you don’t miss out on any of your Medicare benefits. And Medicare Advantage plans can offer more than original Medicare; benefits such as routine vision, eyewear and routine hearing. Don’t you deserve more from Medicare?

Go to an informational meeting in the community and learn about your options. Perhaps you will find that you should maintain the same coverage. Perhaps there is something better for you. Either way you will enter this next year with the knowledge that you are in the right plan for you.

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